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Tropical Tree/Shrub Species for Living Fences (in clay soil!)  RSS feed

 
Joseph Bataille
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Location: Haiti
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I've been looking for the right tree species for a living fence that can be weaved like willow in my tropical climate. I have an additional challenge of having soil that has a high clay composition. I originally considered weaving young moringa trunks together, but they (surprisingly) struggle to take root in clay soil. It can be done, but it will require a lot more time and maintenance than I can afford to give to it.

Does anyone have any examples of fast growing, easily trained species that I might look into? I may not have your exact species at my disposal, but I could look to see if there is a cousin species available here.
 
Druce Batstone
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I suggest leucaena. But have a look at http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/x3996e/x3996e35.htm for other suggestions for living fences. I have no experience with weaving like willow but have moringa that is well established on hard clay soils. I am not sure if it would be a good candidate for weaving due to its habit of multi-branch regrowth when pruned.

Let us know how you go.

Druce
 
Maureen Atsali
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Location: Western Kenya
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What about bougainvillea? (is that really the spelling?)  I guess it would be a bit tricky to weave because of the thorns, but many people use it here for fences, or train it up their walls/fences.  (I tried to plant some here, but it never rooted.)  The flowers (actually the colored leaves) are gorgeous, and goats will eat the pruning.
 
Joseph Bataille
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Location: Haiti
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I never considered bougainvillea (that is the spelling ). I think it's more of a climbing plant and it is not as "woody" as what we are looking for. However, I guess it could technically be used if we used some posts and wires to guide it. Thanks for the suggestion, Maureen.

Druce, Leucaena (especially leucocephala) is abundant here and it has been promoted heavily for reforestation and soil conservation efforts, but the jury is out as to whether it can be useful as fodder for local cattle (due to the toxic mimosine content). If possible, I'd like for this fence to be multi-purpose, so using it for fodder and/or green manure is attractive (this is one reason I had originally considered moringa) but I'd hate to have it and then have to control cows and goats around it because they love it but can't digest it.

As for moringa, like I said before, I know it can be established in clay soils, but not with the time that I can give to the project for now. The property that I am working on is fairly far from where we currently live and we won't be moving to it for quite some time. I'm trying to prepare the land so that it is how we want it when we do finally get the chance to build and move. This means, at best, I'm a weekend landscaper, but more usually I'll only be able to follow up with projects on site monthly. My experience with moringa in clay doesn't seem favorable to that plan. I can do plenty of preparation of seedlings, etc. from home, but once its in the ground its practically on it's own.

Perhaps you know of a way that I could amend soil during planting to remedy that... Thanks so far. Please keep the ideas coming!
 
Joseph Bataille
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Location: Haiti
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Also, thanks for the FAO link, Druce. I'm going to compare some of those species to my Haitian tree reference book in my library.
 
Erich Sysak
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Joe Battle wrote:I've been looking for the right tree species for a living fence that can be weaved like willow in my tropical climate. I have an additional challenge of having soil that has a high clay composition. I originally considered weaving young moringa trunks together, but they (surprisingly) struggle to take root in clay soil. It can be done, but it will require a lot more time and maintenance than I can afford to give to it.

Does anyone have any examples of fast growing, easily trained species that I might look into? I may not have your exact species at my disposal, but I could look to see if there is a cousin species available here.


Climbing wattle, called cha om, in Thai. Leucana is good too. I have seen very beautiful bamboo hedges with a thin stem grown wide.
 
Druce Batstone
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Thanks for the heads up on the toxicity problem for ruminants eating Leucaena. I had no idea because Leucaena is commonly grown as a fodder crop for cattle in Australia. On further investigation I found the following that may be useful in your situation. Quoting from the website;
Leucaena inoculum for cattle
Cattle that are introduced to graze leucaena-based pastures in Queensland should be drenched with a probiotic containing bacteria that can break down a harmful toxin in the leucaena fodder tree (Leucaena leucocephala). The leaves, pods and seeds of leucaena all contain the toxic amino acid mimosine.


The website is: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industry/agriculture/animal-management/cattle/ordering-leucaena-inoculum-cattle

Let me know if I can help you with supply. I live in Queensland.

Cheers

Druce
 
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
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